Slams make the difference as Lady Rockets finish 2nd

By Rickey Clardy ~ Sports Writer
Posted 6/1/23

MURFREESBORO — The Forrest Lady Rockets could not overcome the bat of Westview Lady Charger McCall Simms Friday in the championship game of the TSSAA Class AA state softball tournament as …

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Slams make the difference as Lady Rockets finish 2nd


MURFREESBORO — The Forrest Lady Rockets could not overcome the bat of Westview Lady Charger McCall Simms Friday in the championship game of the TSSAA Class AA state softball tournament as Simms connected on two grand slams in consecutive innings to break open a close game as the Lady Rockets fell 13-5.
Forrest outhit the Lady Chargers 14-11, but the Lady Rockets could not connect on the big hit at crucial times and left 12 runners on base.
“Early in the game we had some walks, we made some errors on plays we usually make, and put too many runners on base,” Coach Shelby Lightfoot of the Lady Rockets said. 
“Once we did that, they always came up with that big hit,” Lightfoot added.  “Probably gave them eight to 10 bases, and when we did that, they capitalized on it.”
After the Lady Chargers took a 1-0 lead in the opening inning, Abby Ferguson doubled and Ella Chilton singled in the bottom of the inning for the Lady Rockets after two were out.
Ferguson tried to score on Chilton’s single, but was out on a close play at the plate as Westview kept its lead.
It appeared the Lady Rockets might dodge trouble in the second after the Lady Chargers loaded the bases with one out,  but after Forrest recorded the second out on the infield, Lakyn Rogers cleared the bases with a double as Westview upped its lead to 4-0.
The Lady Rockets used three hits to cut into the Lady Charger lead in the bottom of the inning. 
Maggie Daughrity led off with a single and was sacrificed to second by Christa Warren. 
Carli Warner brought home the first Forrest run with a double and with two outs, Parker Wales singled on a blooper down the third base line as Forrest scored the second run of the inning and cut the Westview lead to 4-2.
The Lady Rockets left two runners on base in the third as the score remained 4-2 before the Lady Chargers came up big in the fourth.
After three Westview players reached base on a hit batsman, double, and an error, Simms connected and drilled the ball over the center field fence as the Lady Chargers increased their lead to 8-2.
The bottom of the fourth started promising for the Lady Rockets as walks to Warner and Briley Burnham and a single by Wales loaded the bases with nobody out.  But two strikeouts and a groundout squelched the rally as Forrest came up empty.
It was déjà vu for the Lady Chargers in the fifth. 
After two singles and a walk, Simms connected again for her second grand slam over the left field fence as the Lady Chargers upped their lead to 12-2.
The Lady Rockets used singles by Emory Hall and Warren and an RBI-single by Warner to score a run in the bottom of the fifth as the Lady Charger lead was cut to 12-3.
Westview put together three singles to score a run and increase its lead to 13-3 in the top of the seventh before the Lady Rockets came to bat.
Not going down without a fight, Forrest used a leadoff single by Daughrity, a Warren walk, and an RBI-single by Warner to cut the Lady Charger lead to 13-4. 
After one out, Wales singled to score Warren to make the score 13-5, but the Lady Rockets could not put another runner on base as a strikeout and ground out ended the game and the season for the Lady Rockets.
“We weren’t going to give up,” Lightfoot said. “The big two things happened and probably not our best ball that we’ve played all year, but we weren’t going to give up without a fight.”
“I’m proud of our team for that,” Lightfoot added.
Warner and Wales each had three hits to pace the Lady Rockets at the plate.
Moreland started on the mound for Forrest with Chilton and Hall in relief.
In addition to her two grand slams, Simms was the winning pitcher for the Lady Chargers.
It was the sixth game in four days the Lady Rockets played in the tournament.  Forrest reached the finals after a loss in its second game.
“That’s hats off to our girls’ heart,” Lightfoot said. “They came out and played and fought through it.”
“So coming out and taking two today was always the plan,” Lightfoot added.  “Things didn’t go our way, but they put up a good fight, we had a good ball club, and we made it here and I’m proud of what this team has done.”
It was the final game in a Lady Rocket uniform for seniors Warner, Wales, Julie Williams, and Macyn Kirby.
“Our seniors here have been vital. I’ve had them all the way since middle school,” Lightfoot said. 
“They’re a big class to us, they’re a big class to me, and they’re going on to do great things beyond softball,” Lightfoot added.
Forrest ended the season with a 30-13 record and concluded its fourth consecutive appearance in the TSSAA state championship game. 
The Lady Rockets won state titles in 2019 and 2021 and had runner-up finishes in 2022 and this season.                 
Westview  130 440 1 — 13  11  0       
Forrest      020 010 2 —   5  14  2
Westview:  Lakyn Rogers 2-for-4, McCall Simms 3-for-4, Addie Roberts 1-for-4, Piper Johnson 1-for-5, Sarah Byars 2-for-3, Cara Brooke Hatler 2-for-3.
Forrest:  Macyn Kirby 1-for-5, Taylor Moreland 1-for-5, Abby Ferguson 1-for-4, Ella Chilton 1-for-1, Emory Hall 1-for-2, Maggie Daughrity 2-for-4, Christa Warren 1-for-3, Carli Warner 3-for-3, Parker Wales 3-for-4.
WP: Simms  
LP: Moreland